Jump to content

Bridge Centering Help


Recommended Posts

this might have been posted already, but my search did not find anything.

i have my guitar done except for the bridge holes. i have a tun-a-matic and was wondering if there is a "trick" to centering the bridge before i drill any holes.

i have the length fron the stew-mac website, so i guess i can make a template for that, its the darn centering i'm scared to do.

any ideas? how do u guys do it?

thanks!

matt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I usually lay down a fishing line across the outer (treble and bass side) bridge saddles up to the nut. Like a real string. I know exactly when the bridge is aligned properly and equally across the fingerboard. You can use whatever you want, but fishing line is small and very flexible. You can also use real guitar string.

I suggest you install the string nut first. You need at least one 'fixed' point on the guitar to align correctly.

Don't forget Tune-o-matic bridge bass side is pulled back a little, so you can intonate properly.

Edited by MescaBug
Link to comment
Share on other sites

this might have been posted already, but my search did not find anything.

i have my guitar done except for the bridge holes. i have a tun-a-matic and was wondering if there is a "trick" to centering the bridge before i drill any holes.

i have the length fron the stew-mac website, so i guess i can make a template for that, its the darn centering i'm scared to do.

any ideas? how do u guys do it?

thanks!

matt

Just a suggestion, this is what I did and worked for me.

Project the sides of the neck to the bridge area and use that to center the bridge.

Hold a longish and straight piece of wood or a straight edge firmly against the sides of the neck and making sure one end extends well into the bridge area. Draw a couple of lines on the top, these represent the theoretical extension of the sides of the neck at the bridge location.

If your neck is well aligned with the centerline of the body, these lines would be at the same distance of the centerline. But if they're not exactly aligned you'll want to make sure the string geometry is correct, even if it is slightly off the body centerline.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1

That's exactly what I do. Approximate the bridge location, and stick down a strip of maksing tape. Use a straight edge against the side of the neck to mark the neck taper at the bridge location on the tape. Measure the distance as provided by the Stew Mac calculator - job done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried that once, and ended up with the bridge being 1mm off at one side. You need to calculate the exact space between the bridge mouting holes, and center it between the 'theoretical' bridge location. You need to be sure that your lines are 100% straight. A pencil mark is about 1mm or less. Which side of the line is good? Outer or inner? What if your neck is, unfortunately, not straight? What if your bridge saddles are not 100% centered on the bridge?

It's hard to be very precise with this method. There is too much small calculations here an there. 1mm can make a big difference, when you consider the fact that outer string spacing is about 3mm. I prefer to run a line, with the actual bridge and nut. It's impossible to make a mistake with that method, because what you see is exactly where the strings will be sitting. There is no approximation.

I'm not saying what you say is not good. I'm sure it's very effective when done properly, but it's easier to make mistakes in my opinion.

Edited by MescaBug
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for the pencil problem, like Setch said keep them very sharp for marking out precise distances, but another idea which I prefer for this precise of measurement is using a mechanical pencil. I believe the average size of the lead is 0.5mm and you'll almost never be using that whole thickness, so your lines and marks should be well smaller than that. I actually prefer to use the thicker 0.7 or 0.9 leads and just slightly sharpen them up which takes all of two seconds. Besides being slightly more precise and easier to control you're also likely to use less force which makes cleaning up marks or erasing easier/less work. Someone here at PG mentioned this once and I thought it was a great idea. Try it out, seriously, its nice. Just have one on hand for your precise lines. In almost all my pics you'll see one in the background somewhere. J

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use knives or scribes for most of my marking, but for where a pencils the right tool, you can't beat this. If you can get right up to the straightedge when marking, it doesn't matter how thick the line is as long as you mark in such a method that it's obvious which side to go by.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i marked the bridge location last night...and now it looks like the pick-up pocket is slightly off. (note to self. DON'T CUT THE PUP POCKET UNTIL AFTER THE NECK IS ALIGNED)

how bout u guys??? any "order of operations" u follow????

also, any trick to drilling for the bridge & stoptail???? hand drill? drill press? size drills? depths?

you guys are great..and i want to thank u all for your help.

matt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

how bout u guys??? any "order of operations" u follow????

matt

I think that is the best question in building guitars and one that has no real answer that I have found, only preferences really. Some of the order is set in stone, but much of it depends on many different things and what one prefers and what is possible with the tools you have. I spent more time planning the order of the steps, I swear and I ended up having to change things as I went when I realized that I couldn't do this with the top on or I had to do the binding before this, but after that and so on, lol.

How did you mark out the pup routes and neck route and bridge posts, it seems they are all apart of the same center line your neck should be on, should be fairly easy to line up. The way to keep it easy and precise is templates and center lines. Your best bet for the bridge and stop will be a drill press. Best of luck. J

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Order of operations is different from people to people, but I usually dig the pup cavities after aligning the neck, drilling the tuners holes, slotting the string nut and drilling the bridge holes, or cavities when using a tremolo type bridge. You want to make sure your pickups poles will line up correctly with your bridge.

But again, it depends which type of guitar your making, and what you feel comfortable with. A lot of people begins with routing all the cavities first. There is nothing bad about it.

As for drilling the bridge holes, I strongly suggest you use a press drill with a fixed speed. You want to make sure you drill straight into the body. You can use a hand drill, if you are very comfortable with this tool. If you don't have a press drill, or don't want to buy one, you can buy a hand drill fixed base.

A press drill is almost a must have if you want to drill clean holes. It's cheap, about 150$ for a very reliable one with a laser sight.

Edited by MescaBug
Link to comment
Share on other sites

how bout u guys??? any "order of operations" u follow????

matt

I think that is the best question in building guitars and one that has no real answer that I have found, only preferences really. Some of the order is set in stone, but much of it depends on many different things and what one prefers and what is possible with the tools you have. I spent more time planning the order of the steps, I swear and I ended up having to change things as I went when I realized that I couldn't do this with the top on or I had to do the binding before this, but after that and so on, lol.

How did you mark out the pup routes and neck route and bridge posts, it seems they are all apart of the same center line your neck should be on, should be fairly easy to line up. The way to keep it easy and precise is templates and center lines. Your best bet for the bridge and stop will be a drill press. Best of luck. J

well i did go off the centerline for everything, but when i fit the neck, it must have been off 1?16" or so...so it threw the PUP cavity off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...